A Zoo-fari In The Wild Of Atlanta Amid COVID-19

Mar 31, 2020

Lions and tigers and bears... or COVID-19, oh my!

Neighbors in Roswell practiced social-distancing and rallied together to create a makeshift, stuffed animal zoo for the neighborhood children. Families took a wild excursion through their front yards and porches to find exotic animals hanging out among their friends. These animals were stuffed and offered no immediate threat or danger to the public, neighbors were assured.

Stella and Liam Pileggi get a close look at wildlife in their neighborhood.
Credit Wendy Wynne

“We have just come together as a community and wanted to give the kids something fun to do and a new way of learning,” said Wendy Wynne, mother of two young children Stella and Liam. 

Children could see snakes hanging from light posts, bunnies enjoying a tea party, and even lions sunbathing on reclining chairs while brightly colored monkeys dangled from the trees.

“My favorite animal was the rainbow monkey hanging from the tree,” said Liam Pileggi, who is four-years-old.

Stuffed animals on display in front of homes as a neighborhood in Roswell takes part in a zoo-fari.
Credit Wendy Wynne

The community set up a few rules to help keep everyone safe and make sure that the children had their own important roles to play in organizing the event for the day, Wynne said.

The adults encouraged the kids in the neighborhood to become explorers and categorize each animal they found in the yards. They urged them to take the opportunity to focus on the science and genetic makeup of some of the animals by going back home to look up facts specific to that animal.

“It was nice to get out of the house and do something different,” said 9-year old Stella Pileggi.


A family full of excitement awaits the arrival of horses in front of their house.
Credit Wendy Wynne

Wynne said she wanted to showcase that nobody is alone.


Stella and Liam's father, Dave Pileggi, said everyone in the neighborhood has slown down, and were engaging more among each other. "Everyone is just, I think, feeling so much more joy now from getting to know each other. I mean people are forming new friendships because, pre COVID-19, everyone was very busy,” said Dave Pileggi.  




A hand drawn message in the Foxhall community of Roswell.
Credit Wendy Wynne